One day, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might be using blockchain to monitor and manage wireless spectrums to support the growing requirements of the internet of things (IoT).
Juniper Research predicts that there will be 50 billion connected IoT devices and sensors by 2022. With that in mind, the agency is keen to find a way to manage the required radio frequencies more efficiently and transparently. Computerworld reported on Monday, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated at an MIT conference last week that a future world with such numbers of IoT devices will need a “real-time market” instead of today’s “clunky” licensing system. She added:
“We have this registry from all of these licenses, but on a day-to-day basis we don’t actually know with great clarity what’s being used and what’s not being used. So if you put this on a public blockchain you’d have this record of where demand is for what airwaves.”
As of now, spectrums are auctioned off one at a time making the process slow, complex in management and expensive, as stated by the commissioner. Being in short supply, spectrums have one option i.e share them, wherein the FCC will manage the rights to use different bands at different levels of priority.
In recent years, one idea was touted to build a market place that would issue permissions dynamically using AI, as per Computerworld. If and when this can be achieved, said Rosenworcel, new efficiencies would be achieved along with moving the system from scarcity to relative abundance.
Currently investigating how blockchain tech could help that aim as a “thought experiment,” the agency added that the FCC has been speaking about the issue on Capitol Hill and to tech firms. However, blockchain is being looked at by the watchdog, thus traditional databases also being tested for the purpose.
Rosenworcel indicated that a blockchain system might still be five-10 years off, and may not be required at all. Still, the article stated that the tech might help other nations, which will also have to manage growing demands on their wireless frequencies and may have no agency to manage them. She stated:
“The power of making those airways work for connectivity is something that can change economies, it can change agriculture, it can change healthcare.”
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